Designate Chief Executive for Integrated Care Board announced

15 November 2021

Paul Bentley has been appointed as Designate Chief Executive of the new Kent and Medway NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB); due to be established in April 2022.

The ICB is part of new arrangements to improve joint working across the NHS, local authorities and a wide range of other partners to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities.

Welcoming Paul to his new role, Cedi Frederick, the Chair-designate of Kent and Medway’s ICB, said: “I would like to congratulate Paul on his appointment as Designate Chief Executive. Paul’s ambition that the new Integrated Care Board will be the catalyst to change how all partners across Kent and Medway work together to deliver long term and sustainable improvements in health outcomes, reduced inequality and delivers greater value for money reflects mine, and I am looking forward to working with him.

“Paul has an excellent track record of achievement as Chief Executive of Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) in the delivery of outstanding patient care and the development of positive relationships with partners.”

Paul has been chief executive at KCHFT since March 2016. Under his leadership, the organisation was rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission. Last year, staff rated the organisation among the best in the country to work for in the annual NHS Staff Survey and as one of the highest performing community trusts in the country.

Paul said: “I’m delighted and excited to take up the post of designate chief executive for the ICB in Kent and Medway. The pandemic has shown us the difference we can make to the lives of the people we serve when health, social care and the voluntary sector work in full partnership, shoulder-to-shoulder. And I look forward to continuing that work to deliver the highest quality care for the people we serve in Kent and Medway.

“I do want to pay tribute to and thank every member of the team in KCHFT. These last six years have been the most rewarding of my professional life I’ve witnessed first-hand the dedication and commitment of teams and services to provide outstanding care at the right time, close to home and in partnership with colleagues and how, when done well, this improves and save lives. KCHFT is a remarkable place and I will leave with pride at having been a part of something so special.

“I am excited to build on these achievements and provide long-term changes that will improve outcomes for people, their families and loved ones living in Kent and Medway.”

In announcing the new role Cedi thanked current Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group Accountable Officer and ICS lead, Wilf Williams, for his dedication to leading the development of the Kent and Medway ICS and overseeing the local NHS response to the pandemic.

Cedi said: “In the short time I have worked with Wilf I have seen and appreciated his deep commitment to the people of Kent and Medway and his outstanding leadership of the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and ICS through the most challenging of times over the last 18 months. I wish Wilf all success in his future.”

Paul will leave his current role as Chief Executive of Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust to take up the ICB role as a full-time position. Paul will formally start his new role in April 2022 when the ICB is established but will be working alongside Cedi over the coming months on the next key step of building the new statutory ICB, including the key role of recruiting Non-Executive Members and Executive Directors to the ICB. His formal start date will be confirmed in due course.

The Kent and Medway ICB will hold a budget of over £3 billion in 2022/23 for commissioning high quality patient care and will have the authority to establish performance arrangements to ensure this is delivered. Key responsibilities for the new ICB Chief Executive roles being appointed across the country are:

  • They will be accountable for the development of the long-term plan for the ICB, delivering the related NHS commissioning and performance arrangements for their entire system and, through this, securing the provision of a comprehensive health service for people in the ICS area.
  • They will be accountable for delivering improvements in the quality of patient care, patient safety, health inequality, workforce productivity and financial health across their ICS.
  • They will drive improved services for patients and better population health, and deliver long-term local strategies and priorities into next year and beyond including the vaccine roll-out, elective recovery and addressing health inequalities.

ICB chief executive roles are being appointed now as part of preparation for the Health and Care Bill 2021 gaining Royal Assent. The Bill, which contains a series of measures to formally establish Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), is currently at Committee Stage receiving a detailed examination following its second reading.

The Bill will put ICSs on a firm statutory footing, empowering them to better join up health and care, improve population health and reduce health inequalities. 

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